“There’s such a thing as manners. A way of treating people. These fish have manners and the fish are coming with me …”
Forgive me … I was just lost in another Jerry Maguire movie moment. The one where Jerry (a.k.a. Tom Cruise) dramatically leaves his office after abruptly being fired from the business he ‘helped build.’ He’s talking to a giant room full of people, scooping up goldfish into a clear plastic bag from the corner fish tank, and essentially trying hard to maintain his dignity, and shame coworkers for their lack thereof, as he makes his way to the elevators and a new career and life.
Jerry’s grand exit follows a business lunch where a coworker tells him he’s lost his job, doing it in a crowded restaurant so Jerry won’t ‘make a scene’. The coworker (played hysterically by Jay Mohr) says to him: “Can you get over yourself for a minute? How do you think I’ve felt over the last few weeks, knowing I was going to have to fire my mentor?” Or that’s how the dialogue goes from my memory of one of my all-time favorite movies.
Obviously, the news is bad. But you get the feeling the disrespect with which it’s delivered may be Jerry’s biggest bone of contention.
Don’t you find you can take – and hear – almost anything from anyone if they treat you with respect? And, on the other hand, don’t you get really angry at almost anything someone says when they have a condescending, careless or outright-mean tone or behavior? I know I do, on both counts.
First of all, I really believe ‘Mean people suck’. It’s one of my favorite three-word mantras right up there with Nike’s ‘Just do it!’ And, second, I truly believe respecting others for who they are is the most important thing we can all do for each other.
A friend a really long time ago said to me, “People can like me or not, but when they don’t respect me, especially friends, that really hurts!”
‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T.’ – Everyone from Aretha Franklin (most famously) to Ellen DeGeneres has sung those initials from the fantastic Otis Redding Motown song (did you know he wrote it and sang it too? I have the CD to prove it!) I love Bob Dylan’s Dignity song too, which hits on similar themes.
Anyway, I think about it a lot and have even given little talks about it at work in the past. I think it’s what everything, relationship-wise, is really all about. Listening to what others have to say and respecting them for their unique views … even if you don’t agree with them.
I’m reading another great inspirational book from son Dan, called Expand This Moment. In it, John Selby outlines a 12-step ‘Daily Uplift Meditation’. Steps seven and eight are the mantras: “I accept everyone I know, just as they are” and “I honor and love myself just as I am.”
Tough to do but important to try? The more I live and learn, the more I start to realize that we’re not meant to change each other. We’re meant more to accept and forgive ourselves and each other for our human foibles and traits. And often – though not always – the more we give (like love), the more we get back.
What do you think?